Monday, January 11, 2010

Sometimes, Letterman Really Isn’t Funny

I believe I speak for all of us when I say that it’s very exciting and encouraging that Amanda Simpson has been appointed as a senior technical advisor at the Commerce Department, making her the first transgender presidential appointee in history. And I think I speak for all of us again when I say that I am saddened that Ms. Simpson was made the butt of a tasteless joke on “Late Show with David Letterman” on January 5, 2010. During the show, David Letterman reported that Amanda Simpson had been appointed to her position and noted that she is transgender. Then, Alan Kalter, the show’s announcer, yelled, “What? Amanda used to be a dude? My God!” and rushed off the stage looking repulsed.

This pervasive negative attitude directed at the transgender community is not only wrong, it is harmful. When people are treated as disgusting, when they are treated as walking jokes, it robs these people of the respect and decency that every person deserves. And when a public figure such as David Letterman makes jokes like these, it validates people’s negative beliefs about an already misunderstood community. It allows people to see transgender individuals as less than human. And that is harmful.

To speak out against David Letterman and his cruel “joke”, you can send an e-mail to CBS by clicking here.

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